Virgin Galactic Finds Patience Wearing Thin

Richard Branson chats with David Letterman (Credit: CBS Television)
Richard Branson chats with David Letterman (Credit: CBS Television)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

While Richard Branson’s recent appearances on U.S. TV shows have undoubtedly helped him to sell many copies of his new book, The Virgin Way, the British billionaire unintentionally stirred up a hornet’s nest in the process.

On “The Late Show With David Letterman,” Branson revealed that SpaceShipTwo’s first commercial flight — which he will take with his son, Sam —  has been delayed from the end of this year until February or March 2015 at the earliest.

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An Open Letter to Virgin Galactic’s Astronaut Relations Manager

SpaceShipTwo lights its engine as WhiteKnightTwo flies overhead. (Credit: Ken Brown)
SpaceShipTwo lights its engine as WhiteKnightTwo flies overhead. (Credit: Ken Brown)

Gemma Vigor
Astronaut Relations Manager
Virgin Galactic
London, England

May 26, 2014

Dear Gemma:

We have never met, but I know you are familiar with my work on Parabolic Arc and my coverage of Virgin Galactic as it moves toward its inaugural spaceflight. I understand my posts are read with great interest — if little enthusiasm — by the folks here in Mojave and at the home office in London where you work.

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to be acquainted with some of your writing. Specifically, an exchange you had with one of Virgin Galactic’s future astronauts following my Feb. 18 appearance on The Space Show with David Livingston. It seems that one of your future astronauts listened to the show, and had some questions that he posted on Virgin Galactic’s invitation-only Facebook group called Spacebook.

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